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NWRB warns vs digging illegal deep well amid water shortage in Metro Manila

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

Thousands of households in the cities of Mandaluyong, Pasig, Marikina, and several towns in Rizal being serviced by the Manila Water company have been struggling to cope with the water shortage for nearly a week now.

Following complaints on slow distribution of water rations, some residents in affected areas are considering digging their own deep well.

According to Richard Dioso, who owns a well drilling and construction company, digging a deep well costs around P60,000 depending on the depth and level of the groundwater found in an area.

“Dito po sa Laguna, kasi dito shallow well lang. So, bale P6,500 lang dito, 120 feet (ang lalim). Kapag may motor, kumpleto ang tangke, mga P60,000. Pero kapag manual lang, mano-mano, umaabot lang ng mga P27,000,” Dioso told UNTV News and Rescue during an interview on Tuesday.

(Here in Laguna, we only drill shallow wells. So, that will cost only P6,500 for 120 feet. If we use motor with complete tanks, it will cost around P60,000. But if we manually dig the well, it will only be around P27,000)

However, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) warned the public against digging illegal deep wells amid scarcity of water supply in parts of Metro Manila and Rizal Province.

NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David Jr. said that under the moratorium they released in 2004, unauthorized digging of deep wells and pumping of underground water sources has been banned in Metro Manila and Cebu to protect groundwater reserves, avoid land subsidence and water contamination.

“Ang isa pong posibleng negatibong epekto kapag matindi po ‘yung pagkuha ng groundwater natin is nagkakaroon ng tinatawag nating subsidence, bumababa kasi po ‘yung lupa,” David said.

(One of the possible negative effects when we excessively extract groundwater is the occurrence of what we call as ground subsidence, where soil sinks or shifts.)

“Kapag mas malapit naman po sa tabing-dagat, kapag mas malakas po ‘yang pagkuha natin, nagiging dahilan din ng pagpasok ng tubig alat doon sa groundwater natin. Hindi rin magandang epekto dahil makaka-apekto ito sa kalidad ng tubig,” he added.

(When a deep well is near a seashore, with excessive groundwater pumping, it could possibly cause saltwater to enter and contaminate groundwater sources which will affect the quality of water.)

A 2004 ban on deep well extraction covered areas that were earlier found to have critical groundwater levels: Guiguinto, Bocaue, Marilao and Meycauayan in Bulacan; Navotas and North Caloocan; Quezon City; Pasig; Makati; Mandaluyong; Pateros; Parañaque; Pasay; Las Piñas; Muntinlupa; and Dasmariñas in Cavite.

NWRB said they usually conduct surprise inspections in areas with reported illegal deep wells, and issue a closure order when necessary. A fine will also be imposed on the offending party, depending on the amount of collected groundwater and how long the deep well has been installed in a certain area.

Recently, a soda manufacturer in Muntinlupa City was ordered to pay P11.8 million in fines following the discovery of six illegal deep wells within its plant compound from 2013 to 2018.

NWRB assured it is now coordinating with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to address the water shortage among Manila Water customers. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Joan Nano)

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NIA: Cut in allocation will not affect farmlands dependent on Angat Dam

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, May 6th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Angat Dam’s water elevation remains below its minimum operating level of 180 meters.

As of May 5, 2019, the dam’s water level is at 176.10 meters.

The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) said it is cutting water allocation for irrigation starting May 16 to prioritize the domestic requirement in Metro Manila which remains at 48 cubic meters per second.

“Masusi nating binabantayan at mino-monitor ang kasalukuyang level at iyong mga development sa panahon kasi alam naman po natin na ang pag-recover ng dam, partikular ang Angat, ay umaasa (lang) tayo sa mga pag-ulan,” said Sevillo David, the NWRB’s Executive Director.

(We are closely monitoring the current level [of the dam] and developments on the weather [condition] because, as we all know, the recovery of dams, particularly Angat depends on rain water.)

But according to the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), farmlands that depend on Angat Dam for irrigation will not suffer the cut.

Based on NWRB estimates, Angat Dam’s water level might drop further to 172.80 meters but it might happen by end of May.

Cloudseeding operations are set for affected areas this week, according to the agency. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Rey Pelayo)

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Irrigation water in Bulacan, Pampanga from Angat Dam to last until May 16—NWRB

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, May 3rd, 2019

Image of Angat Dam taken on May 2, 2019

The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) will stop allocating irrigation water from Angat Dam to Bulacan and Pampanga starting May 16 as water level drops below critical level.

The NWRB has begun reducing the allocation in the irrigation of the said provinces from 3,450 million liters per day to 2,590 million liters for the first two weeks of May.

READ: Water level in Angat dam declines further

NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David said the reduced allocation will not affect the said provinces because they are already close to harvest season.

“Sa tingin natin hindi makaka-apekto ito sa mga palayan diyan kasi nga po halos patapos na ang pagtatanim diyan at malapit na po mag-ani ang mga kababayan natin sa Bulacan at Pampanga kaya sa tingin natin hindi na ganun kalaki ang pangangailangan nila sa tubig sa panahon na ito, (We think this will not affect the crops in Bulacan and Pampanga because planting season is over and harvest season is near. We think their need for irrigation water supply will not be as much)” he said.

Meanwhile, the NWRB continues to monitor the water level in Angat Dam and will also continue to conduct cloud seeding to aid in the water supply.

“Masusi nating binabantayan ang kasalukuyang level at iyong mga development sa panahon kasi alam naman po natin na iyong pag-recover ng dam partikular ang Angat umaasa tayo sa mga pagulan, (We are carefully monitoring the water level and the development in the weather because the recovery of a dam, particularly in Angat [Dam] relies on rain)” according to David.

Water level in Angat Dam is currently in 177.5 meters from the 212 meters normal high water level.

The NWRB estimates that the water level will only reach as low as 173 meters before May ends.(with reports from Mon Jocson)

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NWRB urges public to conserve water as Angat dam water level dips

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Friday, April 26th, 2019

Angat Dam

Water level in Angat Dam has gone down to 180.73 meters.

This means it’s just less than a meter from the dam’s minimum operating level of 180 meters.

The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) said the decreasing water level in Angat Dam is due to the lesser rains and increased use of water this hot season.

Angat Dam supplies the water needs of Metro Manila, as well as, the irrigation needs of Pampanga and Bulacan.

With its level nearing the minimum, water supply for irrigation will be reduced.

From 35 cubic meters per second being released this month, the NWRB said only 10 cubic meters per second will be released in May.

Water supply in Metro Manila, on the other hand, will remain at 48 cubic meters per second.

NWRB executive director, Dr. Sevillio David Jr. said, “As buwan ng Mayo [for the month of May], releases from Angat Dam will be the full allocation. So we have to closely monitor the situation.”

The agency, however, urges the public to conserve water.

“Kung kaya ba natin at least magtipid ng 4 liters a day. Reduction. Tiningnan namin 4 liters a day kung 12 million ang population it’s around 48million liters per day [Maybe we can conserve 4 liters per day. Reduction. We are looking at 4 liters a day for a population of 12 million, that would be around 48 million liters per day],” David added.  — Maris Federez (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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